My name is Jillian Bauer and I’m a Philadelphia-based photographer with a huge passion for audiovisual storytelling. More importantly though, I’m also one of 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from alcoholism and addiction.
What is The Rooms Project?
The Rooms Project is a photo and audio story series on individuals living in recovery from addiction and alcoholism. The goal of this project is to give recovery a voice through the stories of experience, strength, and hope that people in recovery often hear in “the rooms” of recovery support groups and meetings.
Each subject is photographed in their own environment, and their stories are told candidly, one-on-one, from one person in recovery to another.
It is my hope that through the project site—theroomsproject.org—whether visitors are in recovery, not in recovery, or questioning their drug and alcohol use—they will find someone like them.
How the Project Started
I began photographing people for The Rooms Project in March of 2014 after I celebrated a year of sobriety. I'd been fighting my addiction and alcoholism from ages 18 to 29, and the unmanageability of my life eventually drove me to seek support.
When I walked into my first meeting, I was shocked by the people I met and the stories I found there. Their experiences were rooted with themes of overcoming adversity and transformation, to which anyone could relate. Yet the only stories I knew before coming into "the rooms" were stereotypes of people living in active alcoholism and addiction.
So I decided to see if anyone I knew who was already "out" about their recovery would be willing to have their photo taken and share with me their experience. The response was amazing, and I began capturing photos + audio stories of individuals, with the goal of showing the variety of people you'll find in the 23 million.
After I published the first set of stories, thousands of visitors flocked to the site, cheering these individuals on via social media. People have described their stories as "real" and "refreshing," and I'm now looking to expand the project...which is why I'm here.
Why I Need Your Help
I've been contacted by a ton of people in different states who want to share their experience as part of the project. However, because I'm located in Philadelphia, I haven't had the money to meet them in person.
So it's time to raise money to tell the stories of 100 addicts and alcoholics living in recovery. My goal is to publish 100 stories to the project website by December 2015.
Your donation will allow me to reach individuals I've connected with via social media, but who live more than two hours away. I plan to take three road trips to Chicago, Portland (ME) and Orlando, stopping in the following cities to meet people along the way:
- Harrisburg, PA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- Akron, OH
- Cleveland, OH
- Columbus, OH
- Toledo, OH
- Chicago, IL
- New York, NY
- Harford, CT
- Providence, RI
- Boston, MA
- Rochester, NH
- Portland, ME
- Washington DC
- Richmond, VA
- Raleigh, NC
- Charleston, SC
- Jacksonville, FL
- Orlando, FL
- Miami, FL
Trip 1: Philadelphia - Chicago, IL
Trip 2: Philadelphia - Portland, ME
Trip 3: Philadelphia - Miami, FL
Where Will the Money Go?
This project will be completed if I am able to feature the photos and audio stories of 100 different individuals living in recovery in the states I've listed above. All of these stories will be published digitally on The Rooms Project website. This money will allow me to reach individuals in long-term recovery that I otherwise would not be able to reach without these funds, which will add to the overall diversity on the site.
Once the first 100 portraits are published, I do plan to work on this as a life-long documentary project, meeting people in recovery wherever I go. Further down the line I would like to publish a book and potentially travel with an interactive storytelling exhibit as an educational tool about what addicts and alcoholics REALLY look like.
Philadelphia City Paper - Why West Philly photographer Jillian Bauer is collecting personal stories of addiction and recovery
WHYY - Portrait project brings stories of recovery out of 'the rooms'
TTN - After recognition, plans to expand "The Rooms Project"
TTN - Stories concealed by addiction
Risks and challenges
I've limited my rewards to ones that are easy for me to fulfill, but in the case that I'm absolutely overwhelmed with shipping due to larger than expected support, I promise that if you are patient your mugs, postcards + books will be shipped and that you will get them in a timely fashion!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)